Airports in China are some of the busiest in the world. Beijing International Airport is the country’s premier air hub; however, Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport is also an important gateway into both China and Asia. The domestic network is equally as extensive with many options to get around the landmass and it will never take more than two stops to reach any destination. Flights to Hong Kong and Macau are relatively expensive, as they are generally regarded as ‘international’ flights. Nevertheless, other domestic routes can be cheap, especially the busiest connections like Shanghai to Beijing, or Shenzhen to Beijing.
Beijing Capital International Airport
The Chinese capital is served by one of the world’s largest and busiest airports in the world. Located about 20 miles (32 kms) from the center of the city, Beijing Capital International Airport caters to more than 78 million passengers over a 12-month period. It is also one of the fastest-growing air facilities on the planet, and sources say will one day be the pinnacle of international connections. China’s three largest commercial carriers operate from here which include Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern. Hainan Airlines also uses the airport as a base hub.
There are three terminals at Beijing Capital. Hainan Airlines fly from Terminal 1, while China Eastern and China Southern, along with other international carriers, operate from Terminal 2. The newest and world’s second largest terminal, T3, primarily serves all of Air China’s international and domestic routes. Terminal 3 boasts just about anything a passenger could want in an airport, including dozens of restaurants, ample shopping, leisure services, banking, and VIP lounges.
Rail connections make it easy to access the facility from downtown Beijing. The express line running to and from the airport stops at two stations along the way, and can reach Terminal 3 in less than 20 minutes. Half a dozen bus routes also operate from the terminals, running frequently 24 hours. Taxis are located outside the terminals’ exits, and offer affordable and safe transportation for newcomers.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Reaching more than 190 destinations across China and the world, Shanghai Pudong International Airport was also included on the list of top 20 busiest airports on the planet. Serving about 40 million passengers a year, this large facility near the Pudong coast of Shanghai is a primary hub for China Eastern Airlines and local low-cost carrier, Shanghai Airlines. Air China also uses Shanghai Pudong as a secondary hub to Beijing.
China Eastern Airlines and several other national carriers like Air France fly out of Terminal 1. The newer Terminal 2 is the largest building on site, and caters to Shanghai Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China and numerous other carriers. Modern shopping facilities are found in both terminals, not to mention a host of convenient amenities, like ATMs, restaurants, cafés, banking institutions, wireless internet and disabled-passenger access.
The very fast Maglev railway connects the airport to central Shanghai in about eight minutes. It travels from the international airport’s station to the Shanghai metro at speeds of more than 267 mph (430 kph). Line 2 of the local metro network also provides services to and from the airport. In addition to rail connections, Shanghai Pudong International Airport also offers more than half a dozen shuttle buses from the terminals.